It looks like Microsoft isn’t letting its worsening phone market share deter the company from sticking with its mobile-device operating system and Microsoft-branded mobile devices.
Windows Central published today, April 26, excerpts from what the site says is an email from Microsoft Windows and Devices chief Terry Myerson that went to other Microsoft executives and partners.
That mail, according to Windows Central, has Myerson telling recipients the company has “a device roadmap to support that (Windows 10 Mobile) from Microsoft as well as our OEM partners who will also be selling an expanded lineup of phone devices based on this platform.”
The mail stresses that Microsoft believes in Windows 10’s value to “business customers.”The note also says Microsoft is “committed to deliver Windows 10 on mobile devices with small screen running ARM processors.” (I’m personally not surprised there’s no mention of Intel-based, small-screen mobile devices, but others who were counting on Intel-based Windows Phones might be.)
Last summer, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the company planned to pare back the number of Lumia-branded phones Microsoft made, focusing on three key segments: Flagship phones for fans; business devices; and value phones running Microsoft services like Skype and Office.
Nadella’s rationale for focusing on business phones, rather than consumer handsets, according to what he told me last year, was that business phones are a segment where Windows Phone devices were catching on.
“Some of the real (attraction) of Windows devices is management and security. The fact that your latest soccer app is not available, or some social networking app is not available is not much of an issue (in business scenarios). What matters to you is identity management, security, protection,” he said.
Microsoft has been rumored to be working on one or more Surface Phones, which sources have said will be premium-quality devices designed and built by the team that built Surface tablets and the Surface Book.
Sources said earlier this year that Microsoft won’t be releasing any major new device hardware in calendar 2016, but instead is planning a big-bang hardware launch in the Spring of 2017, which is when “Redstone 2,” the follow-on to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Redstone 1) due this summer, also is expected.
I asked Microsoft officials whether they’d verify the authenticity of the email reportedly from Myerson. No word back so far.
Microsoft’s continued commitment to the Windows 10 Mobile operating system seems logical to me. For one, Microsoft could continue to be the OS supplier to any other Windows Phone makers, even if it didn’t make phones itself. It also could provide Windows 10 Mobile to other OEMs making small tablets, as Windows 10 Mobile is meant to run on both Intel- and ARM-based small-form-factor devices, last we heard.
I have been wondering whether Microsoft planned to continue to stay in the phone-hardware business, however. Even if the Surface team wanted to take a shot at building premium, high-end phones, I wasn’t sure Nadella and the rest of the management team and board might be as bullish on the idea.